The presidential candidate for the Republican Party in 2016 will be former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush. Jeb’s vice presidential running mate will be Governor John Kasich of Ohio. Jeb is a moderate Republican. He speaks fluent Spanish and he has fairly progressive views on illegal immigration and education. His wife, Columba, is Mexican-American. Jeb could attract a large number of Latino voters who have been reluctant to vote Republican in the last two presidential elections.
Of all the potential Republican candidates, Jeb has the best ability to attract independent voters, and even some Democratic voters. He would likely be able to win Florida in a general election. With Kasich on the ticket, Jeb would likely be able to win Ohio. Florida and Ohio are two of the most important swing states. Oh, and Jeb has the ability to raise lots of money for the campaign.
A Bush-Kasich ticket is, aesthetically, not very exciting or ethnically appealing. Two sixty-something establishment white guys. But it’s a solid leadership team. Both men have considerable governing experience, and neither is known to carry any obvious personal baggage. Neither is scary or the butt of jokes like Mitt Romney, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, or Donald Trump.
Jeb has two major weaknesses. First is his last name. Second is the fact that conservatives don’t agree with him or trust him, so they might not show up in huge masses to vote for him in a general election. Kasich doesn’t help Jeb with conservatives, because he’s a moderate Republican himself. He’s not a big fan of the Republican’s Tea Party.
However, were Jeb to win the Republican primary and go up against Hillary Clinton in the general, he stands a very good chance of beating her. Hillary looked old and tired during her book tour last year, and she angered lots of liberals for her criticisms of President Obama’s policies in the Middle East, particularly regarding arming the “moderate” rebels in Syria. Then there’s the Clinton scandal machine. It never breaks down.
Also, with the rise of Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Hillary is no longer the darling of the left wing of the Democratic Party. Democrats still like Hillary, but the enthusiasm no longer seems to be there — not like before.